National Football League
Players will turn on union director
National Football League

Players will turn on union director

Published Jan. 25, 2011 12:00 a.m. ET

Dear Jason,

I was looking to get together at the Super Bowl and talk a little football. But now that my Bears lost, I was hoping you could break out a special edition of NFL Truths to ease my pain.


No problem, Mr. President.


10. If DeMaurice Smith’s advisors are smart, they’re feverishly working in a sentence or two about Antonio Cromartie in Smith’s labor-war concession speech.

You think it’s too early for Smith’s handlers to be preparing a concession speech?

You obviously can’t comprehend the significance of the anti-union, scared-(spit)less rhetoric Cromartie unleashed fewer than 24 hours after his Jets were eliminated from the playoffs.

“When you don’t get no information about nothing from the union or the owners,” Cromartie told New York reporters Monday. “So to tell you the truth, they (NFLPA reps and owners) need to get their damn minds together and get this (spit) done. Stop bitching about money. Money ain’t nothing. Money can be here and gone. Us players, we want to go out and play football. It’s something we’ve been doing and we love it and enjoy it. It’s our livelihood.”

Cromartie had a lot more to say, but I’m not going to waste time repeating it here. He’s not the most eloquent, concise or thoughtful speaker. Let me translate what he said:

“I got baby mama drama and at least nine mouths to feed. I’m a free agent this offseason and need a new contract. DeMaurice better get this (spit) settled quick, because I can’t get behind on my child-support payments.”

Now, the overwhelming majority of NFL players do not have nine kids by eight different women like New York’s fertile, 26-year-old, condom-hating, shutdown corner. But Cromartie is not alone when it comes to baby mama drama among NFL players.

Roger Goodell and NFL owners probably can’t control their laughter thinking about battling Smith in a prolonged contract dispute. We’re two weeks from the Super Bowl and Cromartie is already raising a white flag.

Free agency is scheduled to start March 3. I say the union folds March 4. If the dispute drags past March 5, Cromartie might put out a hit on DeMaurice Smith.

This is a totally unfair fight. It’s become cliche to say this is an argument between millionaires and billionaires. No. This is an argument between spoiled rich kids and their parents. Once the parents cut off the money, the mouthy rich kids turn bitch quick.

Gene Upshaw, the former union president and a Hall of Fame player, had trouble convincing his constituents to stay focused and fight. Smith has no shot. He’s already playing the war-rhetoric card trying to rally his troops.

“Nobody gets strong without fighting,” Smith told The New York Times. “Nobody stays strong without fighting. Nobody negotiates their way to strength. Nobody talks their way to a good deal. Nobody sits down and just has miraculous things happen.”

Remember the Republican Guard surrendering before we ever fired a shot during Desert Storm? We’re about to see a reenactment.

Better yet, Roger Goodell is Mike Tyson and DeMaurice Smith is Michael Spinks.

9. If you’re on Twitter, load up on following NFL players. DeMaurice Smith is going to wish he was Jay Cutler by the time this labor dispute is finished.

Major League Baseball players get a lot of credit for having the strongest union. Compared to football, there’s very little emotion in baseball. It’s easy for baseball players to come together and get along.

Football players try to harm each other. They’re constantly trying to mentally dominate each other. That’s why so many players took potshots at Jay Cutler via Twitter.

Same thing is going to happen to DeMaurice. The players get mentally dominated by their coaches. Cromartie loves Rex Ryan. Cromartie has no feelings or loyalty for Smith. Cromartie and Co. will blame Smith for denying them access to their pimp (head coach).

It’s going to get ugly on Twitter. Jay Cutler ugly.

8. Now I’m supposed to believe the Bears medical staff preaches the gospel and Cutler suffered a Grade II MCL tear.

Child, please. One thing we know for sure is teams lie about medical information. Given their investment in Cutler, the Bears have every reason to exaggerate the severity of his knee injury.

Plus, I don’t care about the severity of the injury. Cutler carried himself like a quarterback who tapped out. Period.

I damn near suspect Lovie Smith and Mike Martz used the injury as an excuse to bench Cutler because they could see his mental disengagement.

7. I think Carson Palmer is dead serious about retiring if the Bengals don’t trade him, and I agree with his decision.

Marvin Lewis, with his threat to leave the organization, tried to force the Bengals to upgrade their facilities and improve their personnel department. Cincinnati owner Mike Brown called Lewis’ bluff and Marvin folded.

Now Palmer is trying to force Mike Brown to do what is necessary for Palmer to win consistently.

Palmer is tired of wasting his time with an organization that is not committed to winning. He’d rather retire than play for a team not willing to compete against professionally run franchises.

The Bengals don’t have a real scouting department. They don’t have a real front office working in conjunction with the coaching staff. I don’t know if Palmer can still be an effective quarterback. But I don’t blame him for wanting to move on and try it somewhere else.

6. I can’t disagree with the Colts making 35-year-old Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in the league. But I’d include some stipulations.

Give Manning the money after he agrees to turn the offense back over to the coaching staff. Give Manning the money after he agrees to go along with replacing Jim Caldwell with a legitimate head coach.

Manning has three good years left. He and the Colts need to have a long, painful discussion about how the organization can get him in two Super Bowls before his career ends.

5. Some of the people who hated the Brett Favre hype are showering Aaron Rodgers with the same kind of hype.

Rodgers did enough stupid stuff to lose the NFC Championship Game, including throwing two terrible interceptions. You’d never know it by listening to the broadcast of the game or following Twitter comments during Green Bay’s 21-14 victory.

Again, I was wrong about Ted Thompson’s decision to kick Favre to the curb. I don’t have a problem admitting Rodgers is better than I anticipated. He’s also working with the best receiving corps in the league and a defensive unit with two cover corners.

Rodgers has all the right pieces supporting him thanks to Thompson’s vision. Rodgers isn’t ready to be elevated to Manning and Brady status yet.

4. Julius Peppers’ helmet-to-helmet hit on Rodgers was quite effective and worth the 15 yards.

The hit did more than make Rodgers’ mouth bleed. It shook the Green Bay quarterback and threw off his accuracy the rest of the game. Peppers will take that flag and fine every Sunday of his career.

3. Now that Tom Jackson has made an ass clown of himself with his motivate-the-Jets-by-picking-the-Patriots-big scam, I’m looking for a new favorite NFL TV analyst.

Ross Tucker and Trent Dilfer are my two candidates.

Pardon the arrogance, but I’m close to calling Tucker the “White Whitlock.” Tucker brings the heat. Doesn’t care who he pisses off. He's iconoclastic. And fair.

Dilfer is the king of preparation.

2. The late-game Rashard Mendenhump is the elephant in the room everyone, including me, is afraid to talk about.

I’ve participated in and seen a lot of football celebrations. None included dry-humping a quarterback in the victory formation.

The Mendenhump, quite frankly, is the weirdest thing I’ve seen on a football field.

1. I’m sticking with my preseason prediction of the Steelers winning the Super Bowl. I had Big Ben beating Favre and the Vikings. Rodgers and the Packers work instead.


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